I returned to NYC from Switzerland almost two months ago and it has been a whirlwind. I have SO much to post about, but have been so busy eating and traveling (and working) that I haven’t had a chance to recap! Will try to rectify that soon.
Tonight I was inspired to write after a wonderfully fascinating conversation with a cabbie.
(I skipped public transportation because I was carrying home a large box plus this awesome pig-shaped cutting board – which I purchased pre-scandal unfortunately, because it’s now $15 vs. $20!)
My cabbie and I struck up conversation right away (without him even seeing my amazing cutting board!) and we covered so many topics in the 11-minute/$12-cab ride. It’s instances like this that remind me how great and special NYC and its people are, and that I have been lucky to have such positive experiences.
Here is our conversation play-by-play (I swear we really did cover all this in just over 10 minutes!):
- His car looks and smells new, but it has already logged 12,000 miles.
- He loves his hybrid Prius taxi. He saves thousands of dollars a year on gas. His friend, who drives a Crown Victoria, pays $50/day in gas vs. him paying $15.
- The leasing fee on taxis is between $800-$900 PER WEEK. His hybrid is more expensive than a Crown Vic, but still economically worthwhile.
- Ford has stopped making Crown Vics. They’re going for about $18,000 these days, while his hybrid costs about $40,000.
- Starting in October, NYC taxis will start being these odd-looking Nissans dubbed “Taxis of Tomorrow.” He doesn’t like them. We both agreed it’ll be sad to see the iconic yellow Crown Vics start to disappear.
- Taxi vehicles are grandfathered in though, so his Prius still has six years left.
- He maintains a calm demeanor and does not find the job as stressful as other drivers. If someone cuts him off to steal a passenger, he doesn’t stress. He says the anger is not worth the extra $2.
- His wife and family recently moved to San Jose. He is in NYC to find work. He travels back for a week or two every four weeks.
- He makes good money as a driver in NYC. He is not able to make as much driving in California.
- His wife is a good woman and very smart. She is a financial analyst for Stanford, is also studying for a 2nd degree, and takes care of the kids. She also loves everything techie – they have visited various Steve Jobs “shrines.”
- Their schedules have put a strain on their marriage. There is a lot for his wife to juggle with him in NYC.
- San Jose is a beautiful, but an expensive city because it is so close to all the Silicon Valley mega-companies.
- The next time I go to California, he said I must, must, must do the “17-mile drive.” I have never heard of this! But it is only two hours from San Francisco. Considered one of the most scenic drives in the world, the coastal drive runs through Pacific Grove to Pebble Beach.
As my cabbie put it, “When you drive it, you will glimpse heaven on earth.”
Readers – Has anyone been?? How is it?
My biggest regret of the night? I never got my cabbie’s name. D’oh! I have a habit of talking to a stranger as though I’ve known him/her for years before a proper introduction!
Dear Mystery-cab man,
You made my evening. I hope I may have brightened yours.
I will visit the “17-mile Drive” one day and think of our conversation. I hope you get to see your wife soon and things work out.
Until then, drive safely on, my man.